I've seen notes that these Cabs from 02 are disappointing . Not this Insignia. Not highly evolved, but you can smell it from 3 feet away on opening. Bright fruit all that it is supposed to be. Bottle 9/12. Going strong and will easily go 5 years.
Would normally decant but this opening was a surprise special occasion and this wine did not disappoint. I was surprised how well integrated and young it tasted. Dark purple in the glass with no bricking or mustiness or signs of significant age in this well-stored bottle. A big wine to be sure, with ripe red and black fruits and moderate tannins. I personally would continue to hold but I tend to like some of the nuances that only emerge with age.
This juice is packed with tons of flavor: dark fruit, wild berries, smoke, herb, tobacco. Tannic and long finish. Very enjoyable. I have a "palate feeling" this will be a new world rock star at age of 20. Need few more years in cellar to shed its remaining baby fat. Parker 3-digit score? May be for its potential. 94+ for now
Opened a half bottle tonight with our anniversary dinner (also opened a half bottle of 2003 Chateau Margaux). I can't add much to my last note on this wine (see 2/21/16 note). Compared to the Margaux, it is really apples and oranges: different wine styles entirely. Tonight, The Margaux was the better wine with better delineation of fruit, complexity, and harmony. Another night, I might have gone with the more opulent, fruit-forward style and dark fruit profile in this Insignia.
I was a little disappointed with this bottle/wine, we drank side by side with an '05 Schrader Cab and it just didn't stand up as well as I expected. The wine wasn't "off" but wondering if there may have been some bottle variation. Will want to revisit another bottle soon and I expect/hope this was a one off.
Drank from magnum at UNC graduation party for my son Mark. WOTN. Everything you could want in a middle-aged California cab. Still dark to the rim, great nose, a bit closed at start with casis and graphite note, that evolved beautifully. Awesome flavor profile; tannins evident but well integrated, very rich, full mouthfeel, but wonderful lift kept it from being heavy. Beautiful now but still a teenager. Left everyone wanting more.
Friends Spring Gathering with Will; 3/4/2016-3/5/2016 (Fresno): 91-92 pts; Not showing the same as bottle opened last year. Our group agreed this wasn't showing as well as we thought it would. Fruit seemed a little drab, pencil shavings and mocha was the highlight, just seemed to lack life, albeit still a solid wine . I thought there may have been a hint of wet cardboard but no one else really got that, regardless I think there may have been something wrong with this bottle (Tried on day1 and day2). Will follow up with future bottles.
From one of two half bottles purchased from the winery way back when (they were sold out of 750 ml bottles after Wine Spectator announced WOTY and would only sell me two half bottles!). Stored in my cellar since then. Well, this one lived up to the hype. What a beauty. Opaque purple/garnet, nose of blackberry, cassis, cedar, and vanilla. Ripe, full palate of cassis, blackberry, plum, graphite, and vanilla. Superb length. Silky texture. Refreshing acidity. Sweet tannins. This wine is drinking well, but will last years - even in half bottle.
Deep color. The nose shows ripe aromas of dark berries, cedar, oak, smoke and a hint of flowers. This is medium full bodied on the palate with very good concentration but a lack of finesse. The fairly long finish features rustic, gritty tannins.
Never given a rating this high on CT. Outstanding fruit with an amazing creamy finish. Not much in the way of tannins evident, although I suspect this one will hold its punch for many years to come. Well worth the hype.
Sublime. Sweet pure chocolate covered cherry aromas with wild berries. Lush concentrated silky textures. Very ripe pure red fruit driven fruit bomb with milk chocolate. A polarizing wine as all about sweet fruit. Underlying acidity and smooth tannins create balance, but this is a big momma not subtle, yet it is sublime. A guilty pleasure.
Absolutely stunning wine! This gorgeous wine is still youthful but showing maturity, so vibrant with fantastic notes of ripe black cherry, blackcurrant, cedar and touch of anise, perfectly balanced with a finish the lingers for minutes. What a treat!
Strong allspice on the nose, but the body was complex, well structured, with dark berry flavors throughout. Tannins were not strong at all. (Disclosure: cork did not come out, so had to strain the wine)
Opened by LostVerse and decanted before dinner. First time I have had the 2002 so I was excited. Medium bodied with solid tannins. Notes of currants, cedar box, iron and Christmas spices. This bottle could probably use more time. It fell in the middle of my Insignia experiences. Better than the 1990, 1998 and 2000. About equal to the 1989, 1991 and 2001. Not as good as the 1992, 1999 and 2004. 92 points for this bottle.
I thought this was drinking very well. Notes of cassis, blueberry, violets, kirsch, black cherry and vanilla. Full-bodied with sweet, fine-grained tannins and flavors of sweet vanilla, black raspberry, blueberry, cassis and plum. Has an elegance about it; adds a chocolate note with air. Lingering finish. Impeccable balance.
At Union Square Cafe with Kevin M, drank next to a 97 Dominus to compare styles. Both wines decanted for about an hour, drank over 90 minutes.
Consistent with prior notes: "Dark violet/purple color. Big, ripe nose - floral, earth. Dark fruits, red cherry, cassis." Great mid palate texture with earth and violets. Long a layered finish.
Wine has settled down (from recollection) from my last tasting. Still fruit forward and lush, but much more elegant. Tannins have become fine. No visible signs of age from this bottle. Hard to say what the drinking window is, but seems like the wine should drink at this level for at least 5 more years
The ruby color is beginning to show the slightest signs of age/development, but the nose and palate have yet to develop to their full potential. Glossy, texturally rich and tasty, this leaves me wanting more - more cellar time. HOLD another 4-5 years if you're wanting more than just a comfort food; I'd love to see it again in 10-12 yrs, actually.
Have coravin'd several glasses out of the same bottle; first glass was disappointing and shallow. Another pop glass from the same bottle three months later showed an aged new world nose of leather and ripe berries. Fine-grained tannins provide some up-front edge, but this is otherwise a fruit-driven offering, showing ripe black fruit with a modest finish. Much more enjoyable but still not a wine for long-term aging. Concur with 2018 drink-by date.
Decanted for 45 minutes...tasted during progression. This wasn't wine of the year by mistake! Drinks really well right now. Still has some legs to run a bit further...nice blend of red and black fruit... Balanced with a fruit entry but still has a nice composition of dirt and cassis and leather on the finish. Enjoy now or wait a year or 2.
Spring Warm Up Tasting (The Lyon's Tree House): Four hour decant and it's Tony the Tiger (it's grrrreeaaaat!). "Cashmere sweater for your tongue." And tho' the texture is velvety, you don't ask Insignia for finesse! It has deep black fruit, mocha, plum, stone, and oak pouring over firm tannins, even at this age. WOTN.
Excellent modern style California Bordeaux blend, but a little heavy handed for my personal tastes. Lacks the finesse of a comparably priced Bordeaux. Fragrant Cab nose leads to a full bodied flavor packed palate, and a good finish. Still a little clumsy for this Bordeaux guy. Is it my imagination, or did California produce wines in the 70's and early 80's that were packed with flavor, but showed much less weight?
Wow! Was expecting so much more from this wine. It was very smooth and easy drinking but really felt it was lacking complexity. Nice ruby red color, small amount of sediment which usually indicates a yummy wine to me. Some hints of cassis, and berry but to me was really flat and lacking anything substantial on the palate.
Purchased directly from winery and stored properly since. Notes similar to May14 tasting, though wine had more body. This shows Phelps' typical bordeaux style and more a fuller and more complex wine than the '99 Insignia we had Xmas Eve. Still, this is lacking the layers and depth I expect from a wine at this price point.
Aerated with a Vinturi and decanted for two hours. Pretty nose of ripe blackberry, currant, blueberry, cocoa powder, spice and pencil lead. Blackberry, currant, chocolate, coffee, mineral and soft tannins on the palate. Leads to a very long, soft, dry finish. Full bodied with a dense, mouth coating, texture. Modern extracted style with pure fruit flavor. Drinking beautifully. Paired with a Smorgasbord.
I have had this wine many times, but this seemed to be an especially good bottle. Popped, decanted and poured. The nose and palate seemed particularly complex, it was smooth and rich but balanced. Drinking beautifully now, but no hurry to consume.
Opened and let it breathe for about 2 hours before poring. Very smooth, still lots of fruit, very little tannin at this point. Great finish. I would recommend decanting at least an hour before drinking if possible. Great nose and very dark in color.
96+ pts; Very BIG cab, definitely could use more time. Powerful tannins, a hint of smokiness, dark fruit coming through. Id wait another 5 maybe even 10 years to pop the next one. Had this next to the '05 and the '02 seemed more youthful and bigger.
double-decanted, consumed over 3 hours. dark red-purple w/clear deep garnet rim; deeply fruit- forward nose, intense blackcurrant jam, blackberry confiture, mint, sweet oak; full - bodied, yet supple & nearly elegant; cassis liqueur, ripe & strappingly youthful, sweet tannins subjugated by the fruit, some herbal/eucalyptus quality on the finish. first of 12, in its early drinking time frame but plenty time left.
grilled rosemary & pomegranate molasses-marinated quail; summer beans, roasted sweet italian peppers, tomatoes, torpedo onions & radicchio in blue cheese ranch dressing; rosemary-roasted rose gold potatoes
My first 02. I've had the 01 several times and while very good, it never reached this level. On this night, this bottle was just beautiful, like sweet liquid velvet. When I went to finish the remaining third bottle the next night, I found that my 21 year-old son had gotten to it before me! What stood out about this wine was the balance and harmony and texture. All the more impressive for having tasted the same year Abreu Madrona and Sloan just a few nights before and neither could hold a candle to this wine.
Drank for dinner with Jim and Judy Voelz. Had grilled tenderloin steaks, grilled squash, crusty bread and salad. A very unusual wine. A bit of a eucalyptus taste. Not much like most cabs at all. Nonetheless, very enjoyable.
This wine is clearly on its peak drinking plateau, though it will likely stay there for at least a couple of years. It was clearly the best wine of the 4 diverse bottles I brought to my reunion, beating Monbo 2000 for the top spot.
Insignia, Shafer, Peppiere (My backyard): Wow. Stunning. This was bought on release before the WSWOTY came out, so for a reasonable price. My last bottle. It blew everyone away. When there was one more pour in the bottle, my wife claimed it and that was that! Purple in color. Amazing nose of cassis, leather, graphite, liqueur, and floral notes. On the palate, this is in a perfect place. Complex and layered, but with lots of fruit. Still has light tannins to resolve. Finish goes on forever. This was easily the best bottle of Insignia I can remember having. Wow.
Opened on a lazy Saturday and decanted for 3 hours before trying. The bottle was simply outstanding and one of the best we've had. Not as much sediment as I would have expected for its age and still has a lot of forward fruit. I can't imagine how this could get much better and glad we have two more.
Pours with medium viscosity, dark purple color but with a plum-colored edge. Decanted 2/3 of the bottle and allowed it to rest for 90 mins before following over 4 hours. We found that this had a lighter, bordeaux-like profile in standard Cab stems, and had firmer, younger fruit notes when drunk from Somm stems. Modest spice, pepper, young oak on the nose even 4.5 hours after the initial decant. Medium-light mouthfeel with more fruit than structure; dark plums, watery blackberries, modest glycerin on the finish. Fruit carries a modestly fleeting finish, no silkiness or coating that allows the flavor to linger. While enjoyable, this was less than I had hoped-for. Will retaste again in 6 months as I fear this is on the downside and I still have quite a few bottles.
I think my Jan 20, 2014 note describes this wine pretty well. It's a rich, full flavored wine that pairs well with steak. Insignia is one of my favorite Cali cab blends. Not particularly flexible with different foods, but a fine steak match.
Smooth and silky. Definitely not a small wine, but A lovely wine that is much more subtle and delicate than most big 100 point parker Napa Vallay cabs. Long finish with great balance through out. Lovely structure.
Drank for J's birthday. Have had in cellar since 2005. Three hour decant. Seductive wine of currant, blackberry, plum and espresso flavors. Balanced, with long finish. Drank with Rib Roast and paired superbly. Will save last bottle for a couple of years and compare.
A strong taste made this small bottle unpleasant. I did not decant it, but even after sitting in the glass for an hour the off taste was still there. I have had this vintage before without any problems whatsoever.
Decant after 1 hr RP was off on this wine not 100 pt, ink black balance first 3 hr wine has lots of heat, after 3 hr wine opened up heat gone, but finish was a tad short, very interesting wine 95 points would drink this in 2019 again
Brilliant and densely colored garnet but with clear, somewhat translucent color that shimmers. The smells were candy like and explosive. The aromas were candied cherry, rich cassis, jammy blueberry, floral perfume, and mocha espresso. The tastes were sweet dark chocolate, sweet cherry, jammy dark currants and blackberry, with rosy and espresso notes. The tannins are silky and fine and the body is elegant and lithe. The finish is tremendous with hints of vanillan oak. Wow, this bottle was singing tonight. I don't recall this reaction from the last two bottles I had and this wine was simply ethereal tonight.
This was the sixth bottle of insignia opened and the first in about 6 months. For me, this was the best bottle thus far as the wine appears to in its adolescence. The big nose of currant, vanilla, withstand hints of tobacco lead to a medium full body of lush dark berries wrapped in dark chocolate with an undertone of bell pepper which I not noticed before. The finish lasts 45 seconds. This was decanted three hours prior to serving.
Drank from magnum with a double decant. Was one of the finest wines of the evening being the top or second wine for everyone present. Stiff competition from Dunn, Rudd, Kapcsandy, Hundred Acre and Quilceda Creek. Full, voluptuous, balanced, smooth with a long finish this is a wonderful example of Insignia with at least a decade of drinking to come.
The 2002 Joseph Phelps Insignia is one structured wine that remained tight over several decants before the night grew too late for it to be best enjoyed. The 2002 Joseph Phelps Insignia is inky medium (+) in colour with a nose of smoky cedar, dark chocolates, slight underlying mint, noticeable dark cassis and slight underlying vanilla notes.
On the palate, the wine boasts of dark chocolates that are definitely apparent alongside its rosewood characteristics that follow through. Other noticeable palate profiles include ripe blueberries, and ripe dark currants. There's a mid-palate oakiness and plums with some slight lead. Alcohol can be quite intense here, though still having the wine to maintain a pretty good balance and style. Medium finish. Lots of weight on the wine, particularly on the back palate. Unfortunately the wine hasn't got a chance to display it fullest potential in that short yet forceful decant. (90-93)
Decanted before dinner. Deep, dark red robe. Dark chocolate covered cherries, some black licorice, funky, dark, old leather, anise, and black plums on the complex nose. The palate taste profile is similar, though the nose is more interesting for now. Nice, though not especially long finish. Insignias just combines the best of Cali and BDX in a delightful way. Drinking well now, but still positive evolution ahead IMO.
Opened for 1 day. Deep opaque. Sweet dark fruited nose. Palate was unsurprisingly dense with sweet crunchy dark fruits. Quite balanced for such a full-bodied wine. Stylistically it isn't for me but I can understand the quality here.
Bordeaux blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon,14% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec. Deep, slightly hazy purplish-ruby. The nose is clean and medium (+) to pronounced in intensity. The nose is developing, with aromas of black currant, blueberry, vanilla and menthol. The palate is dry but with sweet fruit at the fore-front. The wine is full-bodied, powerful, wiht a long finish. The acidity is medium (+), the tannins are medium (+) and rounded and the alcohol is medium (+) at 14.5%. This is a very balanced and harmonious wine and an excellent example of New World modern style winemaking. It is drinking beautifully now but is likely to age well for at least another five years.
From mag. Christmas Eve dinner, so no detailed notes. Paired well with roast beef. Yet came across as a bit raw and primary relative to 2001 Pegau we drank before. A rich, full wine. Another year might help from mag.
Wow.....a pretty amazing wine. Deep ruby color. Pronounced nose of jammy boysenberry, plum, baking spice, leather, tobacco. Darker fruit on the palate along with the spice and oak. Everything about this is smoooooth. Very full bodied, with nice acidity and very silky tannins. Very long luscious finish. Wonderful balance. I see why this was Wine Spectator's wine of the year for 2005. Update Dec 25 - decanted for 3 hours - which was two hours more than I should have. This is so smooth already, that too much air makes it a tad flabby. PNP is just fine for this.
KW Epic tasting/ mens best bottle (KW): tasted blind. young appearance. nose of typical cab aromas and fresh cut grass HUGE in the mouth. Interestingly, this faded in glass somewhat quickly. Still - great, 3rd/6 I guessed it was a 2003 Napa cab
I have to agree with ATK22 below, his notes pretty much sum this one up for me. Obviously a well-made wine, but seeming kind of flabby to me on a pop-and-pour, not sure if a quick decant might have helped with this...but don't know how.
Had with a wonderful 1995 Bordeaux and an Oregon Pinot Noir. Really a wonderful example of an American, specifically California Cabernet Sauvignon. Has aged really well. No hint of brick. Full fruit nose, yet no trace of jammy notes. Full mouth, long finish, soft tannins and wonderfully complex. It was the WOTN. All elements were well-integrated and it was very typically Napa fruit with, for us, cocoa, dark fruit, a bit of mint and great smoothness. Great wine.
Decanted just before dinner of sirloin steaks on the grill. Dark red. Classic Insignia nose of cherries, dark chocolate and dark fruit. Smooth, rich, satisfying palate. Followed 2001 Latour quite well; P enjoyed this a bit more.
Drank at dinner at home with a good friend who very kindly brought along this wine to drink. Popped and poured. Deep ruby color with legs. Nose of dark fruit and cassis. Medium body. Soft tannins with dark fruit. Not complex but excellent.
As good as it gets. It might improve with a little more time, but how good is good? Dark fruits. Very open. Sophisticated style. Drank at a restaurant without decanting and felt we missed nothing. Only had one bottle.....it was a gift.
Just a quick note while double decanting back into the bottle for a picnic. Clear garnet in color. No sign of bricking, but some prune on the initial taste. Also tastes of black cherries, cherry cola, gobs of licorice, tea, a little angular acidity that soon disappears. Tannins are melded. This is drinking smoothly, with lots of fruit. Needs time to breath.
Hours later, this is a young wine. The taste is all about lushness and fruit. If you prefer mature wines with secondary flavors and intellectual complexity, then give it another 6 - 9 years. Drinking well now, but this will reward cellaring. Rated 95 for the potential, not for today.
Just enjoyed a 3 liter for my son's 30th birthday....outstanding, into the third hour..cellared in a basement for the past 9 years that went from 66 to 78 degrees slowly over the year...probably could have kept it another 3-4 years but have one more 750 ml and will hold it until 2016. Soft yet substantive, wonderful sweet cellar nose, lingering taste from mouth to swallow..they just know how to make good,long lasting wine.
Don't often give 90 but this bottle up against good seavey and dominus was outstanding. Forget the food pairing, it was chewy, and filled the sinuses with every Mediterranean spice, coated the mouth and lasted forever. Decant but taste thruout the evolution of the bottle. Wow!
Purple color in the glass, clear looking throughout. Nose of aspirin, leather, meat, berries and cherries. Flavors of plums, currants, berries and cherries. Medium acidity, medium tannin, full bodied. Drink or hold.
The color is ruby to garnet and the density is opaque but brilliant. The smells are black currants, whiff of maple, vanilla, blackberries, and dark cherry. The tastes are vanilla, cedar, currants, blackberry, cherry, dark chocolate, espresso, and peppery spice. This wine is elegant and expressive with nice acidity and thin sheets of satin like tannins.
We had this in a great wine evening where the group all bought bottles that they thought would 'win' the evening. In a group of 7, the Insignia came in #2. A Beaucastel 1995 won the evening (it was the only French wine). This was an over the top wine, lots of oak, big juice and BIG wine. Drinking beautifully but still with many years left, I'd say it is at the start of its drinking window.
incredible wine of amazing depth and great balance. Deep dark purple in color with explosive nose. Hint of mushrooms and finish that goes on and on. A lovely wine perhaps at its apex but in no danger of fading anytime soon.
Popped and poured. Drinking very well now, but plenty of life ahead, rich and smooth, pleasing complexity. A wine of obvious high quality, and it was well appreciated by the non winos who drank it with us. Got one vote for best wine ever.
4th Saturday group "uptown" tasting (Rich & Dana's): Inky crimson color. Aromas of chocolate, cassis and incense with a nice vanilla and toasty/wood undertone. Full-bodied with very fine tannins and flavors of chocolate, blackberries and cassis, vanilla and cherry. Long finish. Impressive in spite of its youth. Drink from 2018+. 94 pts today with room for more at peak.
Early wine of the year candidate and a good call by WS. Floral, sour cherries, spice, blueberries and earth. Elegant wine on the nose and palate. Not the typical Cali Cab beast. Tannins present but fully integrated. This wine drink well for 15 more years. Decanted 3 hours.
drank my final bottle. This wine never really did it for me. Massive wine and good structure but was very ripe, a bit hot, and oak dominated. I took this to Brazil to drink with a few friends and they loved it. I was hoping for a bit more finesse and complexity. If would hold another 10 years if I had more as still very one dimensional.
Napa Cabs/Bordeaux Blends with 2002 Insignia and Vertical of Anderson's Conn Valley Eloge (Jan's Place, St. Paul, MN): Very dark purple/black color. Vinturi and 3 hr decant. Drank 1 glass over 1.5hrs. Wow, this was truly impressive. This is one of those wines you just immediately sense the greatness. There is lush fruit on the nose and palate, blueberry, cremede cassis, vanilla, red berries, truffles, subtle earth. The palate has a lovely balance of power, intensity and elegance. Velvety and deeply layered, still primary at 11 years, but with silky tannins and a long, long finish. Wow, impressive, and my WOTN.
Tasted single blind among 8 Cali cabs. Decanted for an hour+. Mocha, black cherry fruit and rich coffee on the nose. Nice, but big young and bold. Similar flavors on the palate, with lots of refined oak and fine tannins. Just a hint of green pepper on the finish. Elegant texture but could use a few more years to show its stuff.
Brooding and broad shouldered, though it softened with air. Graceful despite its massive force of black-blue fruit. Tannins and fruit are well integrated at this point and the coordination of all assets is impressive, especially when paired with a quality piece of protein (lamb in our case). Less grace than the Quintessa we opened alongside but in a rarified league all the same.
S&E Wine Club - a night of 93+ red wines (Our House): Only decanted for 30 mins so possibly a little unfair to the wine. The balance and body in this wine is just evident. Silky without losing the stength of the tannins and light fruit that does not overpower. Definitely by best wine of the evening. You just want to drink this slowly.
- Crimsom color with slow forming legs and aromas of black currant, blackberry, violet and oak. It's balanced and has flavours of black currant and raspberry with a full body. Round texture with a long finish - @Michael's Genuine w Steve and Joyce Rapaport. Decanted and tested w Vinturi to determine if a long decant was warranted. It wasn't.
Tasted non blind. Opened and served immediately. Followed over about three hours.
Dark garnet to purple color in the glass, clear looking throughout. Nose of lacquer, black cherries and black berries. Flavors of currants, black berries and plums. Medium acidity, medium tannin, full boded. Drink now with air time or continue to hold.
Not much has changed from prior note. Absolutely stunning wine that is in a perfect place right now. A couple hours decant is ideal. Continue to believe that this will not age as well as consensus. Next five years will be prime time.
Not decanted but allowed to rest 90 minutes after opening, and consumed over the following 3 hours. Christmas dinner w Rose's parents and a great rib roast. Black fruit, cedar and a little dark chocolate on the nose. Medium in weight but with great balance and structure; very fine-grained tannins, cassis and ripe red and black fruit, hint of red licorice. Great wine in / approaching its peak.
Beautiful, beautiful wine. Sweet oak and cedar box, juicy ripe fruits, lush and rich on the palate, some secondary forest floor-ish character showing now, a touch of leather, balanced in tannins and acid, lengthy finish... Decanted for 1 hr then drank over 2 and just got better and better. I estimate peak in 5 years.
Opened and decanted for 2 hours before drinking. The initial nose was full of violets, ripe cherry and a touch of vanilla. On the palate it was very smooth with more cherry flavors and a touch of light chocolate and some sweet tobacco. It had a medium finish. Overall it drank well and wasn't disappointing although it wasn't transcendent either. I'd be curious if this bottle would transform more over the next 5 years or so but unfortunately it was my only one.
At first slightly corky but it blew off. Dark to the rim. Pure and ripe. This completely avoids the green pepper elements of cabernet. Dark fruits. So smooth and tasty. Don says not one of his best bottles of this but still tasty. Nice 45 second finish.
Opened and threw into the decanter for Insignia dinner tonight, after 2 hours - Dark violet in color with a touch of brick. Beautiful cassis-like perfume on the nose thats very engaging and I keep taking it in over and over. In the mouth, very primary flavor of dark cherry with noticeable tannins. Glad I started the decant now, it needs the time. More detailed notes to come ...............
Had this wine alongside '05, '06, '07 and '08 Insignias and this was the standout. After 6 hours in the decanter, a seamless gorgeous wine. Wonderful notes of cassis, dark cherry and some earth. In the mouth, a lot of life and can go many more years, but (for my tastebuds) it will not get any better. Delicious!
Fantastic. Drinking well right now, but plenty of life remaining. Decanted 2 hrs. Vibrant, cherry color running down the decanter collects into a deep black once it settles. Follows a similar flavor profile, with red fruit at the margins, but dominated by deep, rich black fruit. Fragrant, violets and anise. Fabulous texture, copious tannin, but very round, not an angle to be found. A powdery, grippy finish keeps the black fruit and creosoate hanging on. I'll seek out more of this!
Johnny's Going Away Dinner (Scoozi, Chicago): Killer wine of the night for everyone I believe. This was singing on this occasion. Best bottle I've had yet. Let open in the bottle for an hour or two. Everything going on here. So much extraction yet restraint on the nose. Such royal dark berries, cigar, cassis. Flowers, minerals, sweet spice, a little funky and meaty with some light pepper and black truffle on the back end. One of the best California wines I've tasted. Fantastic body, grip and elegance. A super powerhouse with years to live but it's killer today. If you have multiple bottles I'd say open one now. Bravo. Hells yeah!
Popped and poured. Very ripe, very rich CA cab blend. Great steak wine, though would probably struggle to pair with other food. Very dark red. Nose of ripe black cherries, black plums, some dark chocolate. Very rich, full bodied mouthfeel. Not an especially long finish, but lingering notes of dark chocolate covered cherries.
Not the style of wine I want to drink every day, but very good, honest example of a CA cab.
Big nose of baking spice (similar to the '01) plums, forest floor and a vegetal component. Big fruit attack. Slightly hot finish. I don't see this wine getting better or working out it's balance issue with age.
Decanted one hour. Purple Black. Big black fruits on the nose - cassis, blackberry and... fig? Smoked & cured meats. Some forest floor. Great Acidity. Still feels very young and a touch sweet. Finish is medium length. A slight bit of alcohol burn. Definitely complex but, disappointly, not spectacular. Paired with grilled marinated skirt steak and roasted vegetables. This is ready to drink. Maybe another year or two to peak.
Still young with aromas of blackberry and hints of cassis, vanilla, and earth. Deep purple. Pop and pour for 10th anniversary dinner after SQN JFTLOI, Spottswoode 2002. Clearly the WOTN. Smooth, well rounded with velvet soft tannins, dark fruit, and a complexity that hints at better things to come in the years ahead. Just a hint of green wood. Day 2....much better rounded. Long 45 second finish.
this was brought to our "best bottle" night by Robert. I think we made a mistake by not decanting longer, it did not really show it's stuff until the very end. It is a big boy, but I was dissapointed and expected more. A 99 Musar was the wine of the night.
Probably one of the top 2 or 3 vintages of Insignia that I've had. Rivals the 97. Great balance and flavor with the oak and tannins really starting to integrate nicely. Probably just now entering it's peak drinking window and will likely be in a great place for another 5-10 years. Loved this wine.
I drank this bottle with friends. I brought the bottle along on a cruise and had it with a wonderful French meal. To recite the glowing adjectives used in the other reviews would just be redundant. I will say however, that from the initial nose, to the restrained fruit attach, to the explosive mid palate, to the long, lingering finish....the wine was in perfect pitch and harmony. Although this wine will continue to age beautifully, to my new world palate, it is at its zenith now. Open this bottle with wine friends and enjoy one of the best Napa Cab experiences of your life.
Medium-plus ruby color, a nose of medium-plus intensity with notes of blackberry, blackcurrant, rich vanilla, sweet spice and a slight herbaceous note. On the palate its dry with medium acidity, tannins are still reasonably grippy (read - medium), beautifully structured with medium-plus alcohol, good body and intensity and a long finish. Notes of black fruit and oak. 14.4% alcohol but carries it effortlessly, no components are out of place or exaggerated. From half bottle and drinking really well from this format. 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec.
Wonderful wine. Had it with a 97 Insignia, two 100 point Bordeaux (Haut Brion and Margaux), a Dominus and Colgin. More than held its own. Was very well balanced, great nose with intense fruit. Noticeably younger than the 97 and obviously the Bordeaux. But, not hot, well balanced and wonderful flavor profile of dark fruit, a little vanilla and the traditional (for us) bitter chocolate/mocha/coffee profile of Insignia. Great wine.
This may have been one of the best wine experiences that I've had and I've been in the business for 19 years. This bottle was fantastic! Everything is still there but it is drinking perfectly right now. I'm so glad I have one more bottle and I'm even happier that I only paid $66 for each of these on a closeout deal!!!
Opened 2 bottles in serial, both were excellent, little decanting time was needed. Intense oaky nose but not overpowering, overall in good balance and has layers of complex favors. Drinking so well now I doubt if any merit to wait more.
Still young, but showing nicely, this Left Bank, Bordeaux styled blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec offers vanilla, coffee bean, cocoa, cassis, blackberry and jammy scents. Rich, concentrated, powerful and sweet, the wine ends with ample, ripe, fat fresh, dark berry, fennel, jam and espresso. Paired with perfectly grilled, Flannery strip, it was a match made in heaven!
From a 375. Dark purple. Nose of cassis, cedar, forest floor, blackberries. Soft entry on the palate with eventual luxuriant layers of moca, currant, dark berry, earth, and plum refreshed by moderate acidity and still-structured tannins. Long, long finish of grippy black fruit. Very polished yet quite concentrated. Excellent.
Tasted alongside a 2002 Clos du Val, a good wine but no where near as good as the Insignia. Big and powerful structure with lots of tannins left. Dark berry and cassis notes with moderate oak and hint of cedar.
Dense, masculine nose of oak (vanilla, smoke, char) and currant sauce. Some tobacco came out with air. Intense but focused torrent of fruit with good underlining acidity. Very well balanced. Still an infant. Decant for full effect if you're gonna baby murder this.
- Ruby color with medium forming legs. It's balanced and has flavours of strawberry jam, raisin and prune with a medium/full body. Smooth texture with a medium finish - Wonderful bottle of wine with a lot of fruit.
- Violet color with fast forming legs and aromas of black currant, blackberry, licorice anise and violet. It's in total harmony and has flavours of black currant and blackberry with a full body. Bright texture with a long finish - At Prime 112 w Joshua Chriqui(grandson) and parents. Having read CellarTracker comments, I decanted early am, and decided it was best to pop and pour vs aerating. Delicious then, and immediately rebottled. Excellent at dinner, but I really enjoyed the Hilliard-Bruce Chardonnay more.
A very enjoyable bottle. This is starting it's transition from youth to middle age. Had with Christmas dinner of prime rib and matched quite well. Still that strong persistant dark fruit yet with the tanins beginning to integrate. This will probably hit it's stride with another 5 years of bottle age. I think the 2001 though will be longer lived and surpass this.
I was disappointed by the wine. I bought it on release and kept it in a controlled cellar. I pulled the cork and poured it off to the shoulder and waited 60 minutes. The wine was hammy and sweet. I then defanged for another 90 minutes and some of the fruit blew off but the wine did not gain much complexity. It had a nice mouth feel and some late fine tanins but did not evolve and was too red and sweet for the prime rib I paired it with. I will keep the rest of my bottles for 3 years before trying again.
Absolutely incredible wine and aging very well. Rich extracted red fruit on the nose but not jammy like some Ausie stuff. Tobacco and earth showing very nicely too. In the mouth it's like a live symphony instead of a MP3, there is an unmistakable fidelity as the each flavor reveals itself. Finishes amazing long but I expected this from Insignia.
A fantasic showing by Insignia, it has aged very well but has several years in the tank, has a full and dense body, darker fruits on the front with a heavy mouth coating midpalate with good balance between sweet notes and earth, finish has very good legs. mid 90s. -S
Drank at Chops for my 30th Anniversary. My 90 year old father remarked that he had never tasted a better wine. Neither did his 57 year old son. Absolutely flawless. Decanted for an hour. Perfectly balanced and ready to go. Soft tannins and strong deep fruit made for matcihing with NY Strip. Beyound description. I leave it to others who have better language for wine. For me, Poetry in a Bottle. Say no more.
Inviting forest floor, cedar, cinnamon and dark fruits on the nose. Big kiss of sweet black fruits and plum liqueur up front, then some leather, tobacco and mocha come in on the long finish. Great mix of new and old world. Great finesse, ample tannins and acidity. An impressive showing. In a great spot right now, but clearly hasn't hit its peak yet. 10 plus years minimum left ahead of it.
Decanted for an hour or so. Dense purple color tending towards opaque. Interesting nose with pronounced cinnamon, smoke, cassis and cedar. Full bodied and robust with cassis, asian spices, cigar box and a beam of sweet fruit. Long finish with blackberry fruit, more cinnamon and a moderate tannic kick at the end.
Unabashedly California in style and profile. Drink or hold indefinitely. Could improve.
From a 375. Popped and poured to accompany pan-fried steaks. Inky purple color. Nose of cedar, blackberry, currant, cassis, earth. Luxuriant palate feel with ripe red and black currants on the tongue joined by leather, moca, and sweet black plum. Moderate acidity balanced by structured but mellowing tannins, leading to a grippy finish marked by blackberry fruit and a bit of tobacco. Nicely done, needs more years yet to truly peak.
Dissappointed! Clearly not up to the recent tasting notes on CT. Bottle was stored perfectly since arrival in 2005. It tasted like a New World version of the 2002 LaGrange I had recently, but that was $26!
Fantastic wine. We tasted along with a 10 year vertical from 1997 to 2006, and the 2002 was among the best tasting. Great nose, chocolate and tobacco, and fruit forward. The 2002 rivals the 2004 in our household.
Drank at the Ritz in Naples. Wow. Huge nose of blackberry, dark cherry some smoke and hints of sweet vanilla. In the mouth the dark fruit and chocolate are beautiful with well integrated tannins and just a harmonious balance. The finish is just incredible that goes on for 60+ seconds. All I can say is WOW. It totally complimented my New York strip. Have a couple of these beauties left. Can't wait to try the 97 I have sleeping away on its side.
--- COLOR: Deep garnet with med-garnet rim NOTE: What a beautiful wine, and it seems to be drinking optimally right now. Nose is a sweet cassis liqueur complemented by rich cherry tobacco smoke (not heavy), black plum reduction sauce, hints of honeysuckle and faint pungency of pomagranate juice, with only the very faintest whiff of heat. Mouth is rich (not opulent) with intense black berry fruit liqueurs, cracked granite and mocha. This is so well-integrated I just don't see how it's going to get any better, but it will probably sail on through the next 5 years at this same plateau. This is greatness in a bottle my friends. The tannins clamp down a bit on the finish, but oh what a finish! It sails on for 60+ seconds and just keeps repeating the blackberry liqueur, mocha, leather and licorice theme. This is one of the best Bordeaux-style wines I've ever had and actually beat out the 2005 Schrader RBS today. Unbelievable!
DECANT: 3 hr GLASS USED: Bordeaux TASTE: 9.5- OTHER: Just now reading MWes' notes below and it looks like we have very similar takes, along with many others here. COST: 95 VALUE: 9.2 (I'd buy this every day at this futures price, but have fun finding it for that...) PREVIOUSLY TASTED: 09/08 TRY AGAIN: All gone... Drink now if you got it PAIRING: n/a (should have paired it with a marbled ribeye!) Inquiries can be addressed to email@example.com ---
Wow! A lush, smooth, elegant Cabernet. I was expecting it to be much more muscular, but this is refined and incredibly food friendly. The tannins are fully integrated. I don't think this is going to last as long as people think.
Drank at Guy's 60th at 32 East in magnum. Great dark cherry, blueberry and blackberry notes with some sweet vanilla. Not too much, not too little. This wine is very smooth and well integrated. Lack a serious backbone but was really luscious and food friendly.
This wasn't giving much on the nose, but it had a rich, smooth taste of chocolate and dark cherries. My best guess is that this needs time. Have some left, will re-cork and check tomorrow. I have several of these, so will try another bottle later in the summer, but based on this I'd suggest waiting a year or three on this. Not scored now.
Outstanding bottle of wine. This had an incredible depth of fruit with a hint of oak. This was pretty much ready from the get go and didn't change much over the next 3 hours. I would say it has until 2016 without losing much, but I don't think it is going to get any better. I will drink my last bottle in the next year or so. Stored in my Eurocave since release.
Wow! Probably deserves 100 but what do I know. This is a wine extraordinaire. A symphony of aromas and flavors. It is all there. A very well balanced wine. As the Brits would say it is in perfect harmony. Do not pass up the opportunity to try this wine. 3 left...
Outstanding bottle of wine. This had an incredible depth of fruit with a hint of oak. This was pretty much ready from the get go and didn't change much over the next 3 hours. I would say it has until 2016 without losing much, but I don't think it is going to get any better. I will drink my last bottle in the next year or so. Stored in my Eurocave since release.
An extraordinary wine in every way. The best Insignia Joseph Phelps has ever made and one for the record books. This was my third bottle of this vintage and it has consistently lived up to its "Wine of the Year" billing even as it has aged six years since I first tasted it. The nose has a dense forest floor aroma with soft notes of cedar, all of which hints at extreme depth. On first taste you are hit with an incredible candy spice box that lingers though the mid palate while the dark blackberry fruit, chocolate, and floral oak resonate for eternity. It has lost a hair bit of zest since my first bottle, but shows no sign of slowing down for at least another five years or better. Drink now through 2020.
From the Friday Night Cellar Circuit -- followed the 01 Cos and the 98 Insignia, decanted for 3 hours. Wow -- still on the young side, give it a few more years, but it was clear what the hype on this wine is all about. Has it all -- intense fruit, well integrated, but noticeable, oak, harmonious balance, and big chewy tannins. Beautiful. The finish was long, but not quite what I expect in this price range and this amount of prestige (see Chappellet's Pritchard Hill Cab or Shafer Hillside). Still, fantastic wine and would gladly serve again for a special occasion.
Inky as usual still tight even though it was double decanted with an aerator and left for 1-2 hours. Seemed a little weak in mid-palate and finish was long but not pleasing. Disappointing for WS #1 of the year. Maybe it needs time to come back together.
Sampled 4/23/11. Dense. Loaded with blackberries, black currant, licorice, some mocha notes and dried herbs. The tannins are still a bit chunky and the wine is in a disjointed phase right now. There is plenty of good things in this wine, but it needs time to come back together. Try again in a couple years, it will get better.
Dark purple hue. Nose of earth, moca, cedar, dark fruits, cassis. Structured and concentrated blackberry and black currant fruit on the palate with velvety texture but still-stern tannins. Low to moderate acidity. Long, grippy, but ultimately sweet finish lasting 20 to 30 seconds. Paired very nicely with ribeye topped with truffle-salted mushrooms and also later with Comte gruyere. Coming along nicely. From a 375.
I had this wine with portabello mushrooms and asparagus that I sauteed in butter and garlic w/ kosher salt and ground pepper and then seared on the grill. Absolutely delicious. The wine went beautifully with the food and may have slightly biased my rating. However, I still believe that this is a world class wine that continues to deliver outstanding fruit while also showing excellent secondary flavors of earth, oak and dark chocolate. The finish is beautiful and extremely long. This is the 3rd bottle that I have drunk w/ 3 to go and I have never been disappointed.
What is interesting is that I just visited Napa/Sonoma and went to Phelps. I was totally underwhelmed by their 2007 and 2008 Insignias. I am also very disappointed that they raised their prices so significantly and force you to be in their wine club (which forces you to buy bottles of wine that you likely don't want) in order to get a discount (which is still overpriced) I do agree w/ a prior review that the 1994 Insignia is superior to this....but that is a 100 point wine in my opinion.
The hype once again exceeds the reality. No explosive nose that others have described. While I found this wine enjoyable, I didn't find anything particularly special about it. If this is the WOTY, I need to buy some more $20 bottles for similar enjoyment without the expense.
Gave this 4 hours of air in the cellar which it needed. Dark fruit, mineral, flowers and a hint of chocolate. Incredible sweet tannins that were silky and well integrated. Deeply complex with impeccable balance and a super long fihish. Drink now with a few hours of air or hold.
Beautiful, elegant wine. Decanted only 45 minutes and could have used some more. Opened beautifully in the glass. Had with filet mignon and couldn't have asked for more. Absolutely the finest Insignia I have ever tasted. Tannins are soft and almost sweet. Ready for drinking now and look forward to seeing how much better this can get with my remaining bottles.
Impressive. Full of cherry and very smooth. we didn't let it decant very long - maybe 20 minutes - it would have benefited from a longer period. I believe this will only get better with a few more years.
Purple color in the glass, clear looking throughout. Nose of blueberries, flowers, white pepper, saddle leather and plums. Rich flavors of blueberries, Bing cherries, currants and plums. Medium to bright acidity, firm tannins, full bodied. Drink now with air or continue to hold. We'll call it WIML92? for the moment but I wasn't sure I was drinking a Napa blend or an Australian Shiraz.
Cherry cough syrup, iron, pencil lead, violets and a Burgundian floral aspect give this a complex, beautiful nose. Elegant, albeit lighter in the mouth, but slightly slack in the mid-palate (at least after Kobalt!); super fine, dry tannins. Thgis grew on me. Maybe 93.
Drank on my Bday...what a difference the ageing makes. Last Insignia I tasted was the 2007 bottle. 2002 was much smoother in the front with gobs of fruit, a medium-heavy middle, but not dark cocoa, balanced tannins and a superb finish. Nose stood out more than 2006 Caymus SS, which i thought was hard to beat. Had cheese with it. Thanks John!
Just outstanding, certainly my best bottle of this year and probably back through 2010 as well. From the pop, great rich nose while it decanted for about an hour. On the palate, rich fruit but not over the top, superb mouthfeel, great structure that didn't detract, and a finish that went on and on. In addition to the fruit, there was a hint of chocolate as others have noted. My take on this wine is that it's what Napa should be but too often isn't - superb grapes made into a completely balanced wine.
Third of four we bought upon release. We'd been happy with the bottles previously, but not bowled over. This time the wine was drinking much better. More interesting, more complex. Lots of cherry, a great nose. Maturing into a wonderful wine. I'll wait a few more years for the last bottle.
Opened not decanted. Took to Bellanico in Oakland with KPAK and JPAK. I really thought this was going to be a pop and pour. Wrong. We finished the bottle around the 1 hour mark and it was just beginning to be about 1/2 open. This needs a good hour to 2 hours of decanting. Shows no sign of age. Dark bing cherry notes; light in body that ends with a semi-dry and slight citrus finish. Nicely balanced throughout. Good +.
Decanted for 6 hours before having it with a short ribs and beef tenderloin dinner. Still has ages left in the bottle. Probably still too young to drink with anything other than a strong red meat dish. Wonderful nose, with lots of depth and complexities. Taste was extremely ripe, bursting with lush cherries and cassis, mingled with chocolate, mint and cedars. Tannins were softened, but there was lots of it, providing a firm backbone.
Drank with prime tenderloin and lobster tail at Willows for New Years. Not as impressive as I expected. Still has a fair amount of tannins but smoothed out over the first hour. Save the remaining bottles for a few more years.
Decanted 2 hours. This improved considerably in the glass after a tight restrained start. Smooth as silk with very fine tannins on finish. A nicely balanced wine which would now be considered medium bodied compared to current cult Cab releases. We drank this head to head with a 2001 Pavie and the group was evenly split as to their favorite. This will drink well for years to come.
Everyone who drank the wine used the same descriptive: velvety. This wine is drinking perfectly. Decanted 2 hours before dinner the wine has beautiful, lush fruit (cherries, cassis), in balance with the tannins of the wine. While the wine is drinking beautifully, I felt guilty drinking it so young. I suppose 8 years isn't that young, but this is a wine built for the ages, one that should taste remarkable 10 years from now. With only 2 bottles left in my cellar, now that I know how wonderful this wine is, I don't know that they'll be here 10 years from now!
Decanted two hours. Muted floral and mushroom aromas. Has a very nice smooth texture, with abundant currant, dark cherry fruit and a touch of minerality. This went extremely well with prime rib and preferred by my wife over a 2005 cult cab, which I liked slightly better.
Opened with 2000 Bordeaux as there were mixed palates at the table. 1 went for Insignia, 2 went for Bordeaux; I was in the later camp (frequently am). I liked the nose on the Insignia, and the tar elements blending with bluer fruit notes, but I didn't like the mid-palate nor the finish. It was flat and short- not flabby, but no lift and no roundness. Tannins were pretty well integrated. Firm decanting + 30 mins, then drank over 2 hours. Have two more bottles. PQR isn't there for me, and I really hoped it would be.
This was, quite simply, one of the best wines I have ever had! I decanted it about 45 minutes before hand so when my guests arrived it was ready to go. Pouring it into the decanter, I was surprised the wine did not give off any sediment. We each poured ourselves a glass with a little remaining in the decanter to retaste a little later. Incredible bouquet of cherry, mocha, cedar, smoke and other dark fruits. On the palate, this was perfectly balanced with well integrated oak. The flavors were intense with plum, cherry, currant, espresso and vanilla. The finish was long and elegant, lasting nearly a minute. The wine improved with every sip and by the time we retasted it later in the evening it was drinking even better. Fantastic!
Out of the park! Did not decant. Don't think it will ever drink better then now. Very well integrated with velvet mouthfeel and long finish. Dark fruit but not overdone. Not a bad review for one who is not fond of new world profiles/tastes!
Just a tremendous wine. perfectly balanced, sweet tannins, ripe fruit, complexity, long finish. what more could you ask for? will probably go many more years but not sure it can get much better than it is now.
This was a great California Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine has aged wonderfully well. Very rich nose, fruit, perhaps even a bit of mint or sweet herb as well. In the mouth, very full, even rich, classic varietal taste of dark fruit, vanilla (oak), but not too much, and good balance. Really a classic wine, definitely WOTN vs some very fine wines. We did not decant, and in fact, on day two, we felt it a little flabby--didn't hold up as well as the companion bordeaux (2000s).
Perfect cork. First bottle I've had since the last one upon release. Wasn't impressed. Started ok but sorta fell apart after 4 hours. Became disjointed. No where near as good as it was upon release. Stored perfectly since release. I'll try another in two years.
Still incredible! I drank my only other bottle of this back in 2006 and it was an other-worldy experience. Silky smooth and perfectly balanced, this wine is pure enjoyment from beginning to end, with lots of dark berry aromas and flavors which hang on seemingly forever. Add a thick-cut ribeye and you are in heaven!
One of five different cabs or cab blends served at a "Filet and Cabernet" dinner party, including, 2004 Rudd Oakville Estate, 2004 Caymus Special Selection, 2005 Pahlmeyer and 2006 Far Niente Oakville. This was the outstanding wine of the evening, voted consistently number one by all guests. Very dry and silky with touches of smooth fruits So refined, no heat or bite. Voted 98 to 99 points by all guests. Only reason it didn't get 100 is that it did not complement the gorgonzola dolce topping the prime filets, but was incredible with the filet itself. We know why this was Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year - it definitly lived up to the hype.
This wine has changed dramatically. We haven't enjoyed this wine for over 2 years. It was originally very plummy. It has become much more complex with earthiness, fruit and oak. It is now living up to its 'wine of the year' status and expectations.
If you drink these now then make sure to give plenty of air. I opened this one and drank on the first night over a four hour period. It was ok but somewhat disjointed and a little green. Maybe 88pts. On the second night (bottle sitting on counter at room temp) it was a whole different wine. Rich and lush. 94pts.
3.5 hour double decant. Deep and layered, supremely classy. No where near peak; keeping most of its secrets close to the vest. Dense, polished, and flawless as an FBI agent. Outstanding with skirt steak with anchovy butter.
Saturday Tasting Group (Knightsbridge Wine Shop (Northbrook, IL)): Fantastic profound wine. Clearly everyones Wine of the Day. Dark lush cherries, mocha, and an unctious plush weight to the nose. Some spice, vanilla, and volcanic rock - coal. Elegant structure with a dominating finish lasting 60+ seconds. More flavors - leather, tobacco, a unique dark strawberry crumble play. Well integrated tannins - just awesome. Rose petals as well. Big and chewy. Culty but not too over the top or heady - this is all about exquisite balance. Rusty, dusty and awe-inspiring. Bravo. Love where this bottling is going. Will try again in 3-5 years. A lot of life ahead.
Nicest thing about this was a lush, weighty mouthfeel. Nice deep red and black fruits. Graphite. Lush, but noticeable medium-grain structure. Best elements of Cali Cab without significant heat, spoof, or candied/overdone notes. Very nice.
Dark garnet color in the glass, clear hue throughout. Nose of cocoa powder, currants, smoke, plum and black berries. Rich flavors of berries, plums and light currant notes. Medium acidity, medium to firm tannins, medium to full bodied. Drink now with some air or continue to hold.
from magnum. unable to decant, so pulled cork about an hour before serving. this has been a boringly consistent wine. no major faults, but a wine of little distinction. this concludes my stash of this former WS WOTY.
93+ Pts. This was my only bottle and I drank it too soon. Decanted for 2 hours before serving with Strip Steaks. Dark fruit and spice that is wonderful. Balance galore for a big wine, I would like to try this in 10 years. This will get better over the next 3-5 years and last 10+.
Big raspberry fruit aromas on the nose. Almost smells like a young grenache based Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Lush & very fruity flavors with a lot of flesh on the palate. Good balance of fruit & structure. Nice wine. Tasted blind.
Huge wine (especially following the older Bordeaux) with waves of ripe black fruits, toast, tar and vanilla; expansive and mouthcoating with tremendous power and richness but still very well balanced with chewy tannins and a long finish.
Drank over 6 hours. This drinks like an '02 Cali. Sweet, tannic and hot. Alcohol on nose, blueberry on palate and heat on finish. Not close to ready. Consistent with a lot of other '02's I have had, recently. Much prefer the '01 Insignia at this stage. If you must drink now, it needs food, preferably a fatty ribeye steak.
Very fine tannins and integrated fruit. House style that has been evident since turn of the Century for the better Insignia's came through clearly. Still drank very well the next day after spending a night in the bottle with nothing but a cork in it. Lovely wine.
Brought by a friend to our tasting, this wine showed incredible sophistication and refinement. Not an overpowered wine and definitely on the young side, the fruit was beautiful after an hour in the decanter and the finish lasted forever. You could have sipped this wine over two hours and not fully appreciated how it changed during the night. Hold for at least 7 years....
Inky garnet color. Notes of cassis, mint, plum and violets. Full-bodied, with flavors of blackberry, currant and spice, picking up black cherry and wood tones on the finish. Tannins are firm, but sweet and approachable. Impeccably balanced. 93+ pts.
I'm surprised this wine is going to need more time. It does appear young but I'm drinking other 2002's and they are amazing today. It has crossed my mind that the WS rating and Wine of the Year was after the very poor and wrong rating of the 2001.
Deep black fruits, dusty coffee, and kirsch on the nose. The mouthfeel is less intense than I remember it from 10 months ago. Tannins are more noticeable, fruit seems to be down a notch on the mid-palate. Finish is long and intense, with tasty cranberry notes punctuating the riper, darker fruit flavors. Maybe in a bit of an "in between" phase? (PE: 92)
Drank from a friends cellar and very closed down. Nothing like other bottles we have drank in the past. Weird state? Maybe. Storage conditions? Quite possibly as it's been in his passive cellar. Regardless, will hold our remaining bottles at least another year before revisiting.
Decanted 2 hours. Beautiful, complex nose of ripe blackberry, currant, smoke, cedar, vanilla and the slightest hint of mint. Lush and round on the palate with fine but substantial tannins evident on the finish. Just entering its drinking window but has the structure to go on for a decade or more. Loved it!
This is an excellent wine, but right now it isn't living up to expectations. I'd recommend holding or decanting for several hours. Lots of everything and hard to not like, but not as complex as I had hoped.
Father-in-law opened the bottle I gave him several years ago with the Spectator WOTY cover. Overall, it was a great bottle, but didn't live up to the hype or the price, at least at this point in it's life. The nose was complex and engaging with cedar, black fruits, leather and spice. In the mouth however, it was rich but lacked the great finish I'd expect in a wine of this degree. This is a great bottle of wine now, but should continue to flesh out over the next 10+ years. If you only have one or two, hold them, if you have a bunch, go wild.
Clean, high intensity aromas of ripe red berries, cassis, plum, blackberry, vanilla. Very dark ruby, with bright red edges. Medium acid, medium soft tannin. Flavors match aromas. Long 60 second finish. Drink or hold.
I must say I was very disappointed. While the wine is still very young and primary it was so one dimensional and uninspiring that I am not sure this will ever evolve into something exciting. Lots of concentration but all I could muster was grape juice. Very little on the nose worth interest. Very short on the finish. Still rather oaky. Not sure what the future holds for this wine. I have had many older vintages that were stellar. Maybe it is still asleep but it did not budge over 4 hours. The critics loved it. Not me.
Consumed in a vertical tasting with the 2001 Insignia, paired with buffalo ribeye in a somewhat spicy seasoning. The 2001 was complex with a lot of subtle and varied flavor notes, but minimal remaining tannins, and probably at the peak of its suitability for consumption for my palate. In contrast, the 2002 still had strong tannins with the potential for continued aging. Both were outstanding wines, but the 2001 had enough subtlety that I would have enjoyed it more by itself than paired with a seasoned steak, while the 2002 stood up quite nicely to the hint of cayenne.
Tasted against 2001 Caymus Special Selection and 2004 Dominus. Decanted. Drank over 3 hours with the other bottles. Color: Wonderful deep purple red to the rim. Dense Cassis, blackberry, cherry fruit with toasty but lightly done oak. Nice acidity and very fine integrated (though still noticeable) tannins. Very elegant with a smooth, long finish. Probably the smoothest and best balanced of the group that night.
I'm like several recent reviewers who were shocked with this one at a recent opening and was thoroughly disappointed. It didn't open up over time, lacked complexity and was bland. I have several others and will not be opening them for quite a while. Hopefully, this is a bad phase but as is, I wouldn't pay 1/5 the cost of this wine that I did.
Phenomenal fruit upon opening without decant. Solid acidity and smooth tannins. Shut down within an hour of being open, though. Alcohol really started to come out as it remained open. Needs time to allow this to integrate. Still, the first few glasses were extraordinary.
Dave Leaf’s retirement dinner @ Etta’s. Joe McGee brought this bottle and it was astounding. Fabulous Bordeaux character with immaculate blending that yielded lush fruit with significant acidity indicating it will continue to develop for many years. Palate showed a complex combination of red/black fruits, especially berries, combined with spices and espresso notes. Finish lasted for at least 45 secs and oh so smooth. This wine will age at least another 10 years. Looking forward to the next bottle!
Opened on Christmas, this wine took a bit of time to come around, and once it did I believe it only showed a touch of what it has to give. Nice fruit and chocolate notes are defanitally present, but it needs some time for the complexity to really come forward. Try again in 2011.
really closed down wine. I read the other reviews about it being in a dumb phase and opened anyway, my bad. Nose was toned down a bit, massive purple wine with red fruits, coffee, and some gritty tannin. Not showing well at this point
opened two bottle for christmas dinner with filet, decanted for 2 hours. tasted immediately and was shocked, tried is again in two hours and was again shocked, terrible. this is my favorite wine, i have the '02 almost 10 times and i either had two corked bottles from one of my six packs or it took the holidays off. tannic, not smooth at all, what can i say im shocked. i have quite a few bottles left and will not touch them for a while. i thought my palate was off so i opened a 2002 caymus special select- its was delicious straight from the bottle. hold this wine, its going through a weird phase. i wont even rate it- i have too much respect for insignia and backus, i know its a great wine but NOT now, i hope it turns around.
Not as much fruit as when I first opened this during release but it's still evolving nicely. I just wish it was still $99 :( What better time to open up a nice bottle than with both sides of the family together for Christmas dinner?
First bottle I have tried in over a year -- definitely starting to smooth and round out, and at first I had a disappointing feeling that I had found the wine in a dumb phase. After about 2 hours however the wine really emerged: soft oak, coffee and fruit flavors -- I definitely could have mistaken this for a Bordeaux in a blind test. Overall, very polished wine and a pleasure to drink. And I think it can only continue to improve.
I noticed a very pleasant smell upon popping the cork….It reminded me of light vanilla cream with berry’s and perhaps plum….(berries and cream). First tasted without decanting…how pleasant….a balanced fruit flavor, smooth on the back of my tongue….ever so slight alcohol taste at the end but I guess that’s what happens if you do not decant. Definitely much better than Dominus or the Bordeax’s I have tried…No oaky flavor that I can detect….1 ½ hours later –still some alcohol taste to it…it did not seem to subside much….still I really enjoyed it….still not what I am looking for to stock up on but I would definitely like to try this again in 2 and 4 years…I will be buying about one case of it..I was pleased with this wine but it would have been much better with red meat, not pasta like we had…..My wife said it was too strong…strange to hear that…I was disappointed to hear her say that about such a wine…curious to hear her thoughts 2 years from now. I think it needs more time. I give it a 93 – 94 for now..
Drank this as a quarter of a 4 year vertical (2002-2005). Nose was reticent blackberry new wood, and soft ripe berry fruit. Mouthfeel was medium to full bodied, with cassis, vanilla oak, and blackberry jam, with hints of mocha. This did not have the intensity I remember, and I thought the 04 was better.
The second or third time I've had this, and it continues to impress. Rich and packed with fruit, but not over-the-top or a caricature like many newer wines. Cassis, leather, coffee, and smoke wrapped around a core of sweet tannins. I imagine this will last for some time, but I'll probably have a hard time keeping my hands off!
If you are new to wine, drink up because it won't get any better. If you have a modicum of patience and particularly if you have had to good fortune to try an older Insignia, put it down for a decade or more and your patience will be rewarded.
decanted 2 hours, and recommended. the wine was a little tight upon opening. tannins remain, and i doubt they will go away before the fruit (in other words, drink up, it ain't gonna get better). this is a good wine, but hardly the multiple post 95+ hommage to cabernet depicted by other tasters on CT! wake up.
This is a beauty of a cab blend...full floral bouquet, and still full of fine tannin suggesting years to go. No significant tobacco flavors but a bit of tar, espresso, raspberry on the palate. Nice long finish giving one time to contemplate all that is going on here. Superb.
Popped and poured (generously) by a friend as a capper to a wonderful evening. Some serious class here, with the satiny mouthfeel, impeccable balance, amazing fruit purity, and long, sailing finish all standing out in my memory. An outstanding wine. One of the best Insignias I've tried, and I've sampled almost every vintage. Not sure if this will have the longevity of a '74 or a '91, but it is worthy of its accolades based on how it is drinking now.
Losing some of the baby fat - this is finally coming into its drinking range. I felt that this shut down a bit after release but it is starting to really strut its stuff. Should be great for another 10 years.
Decanted 6 hr’s. Lovely nose of red currants dominating along with blackberry, chocolate and light spices. Well balanced and nicely detailed sweet red currants, blackberry, and dark chocolate flavors wrapped in medium to soft tannins that just continue to expand and gain depth towards the long and superb finish. An elegant wine that just kept getting better as the night wore on.
Utterly smooth and undiminished. This wine was opened in the Leer on the way to dinner in Monterey. Loads of crushed berry fruit, and soft vanilla nuances on the nose, with cassis, raspberry, mocha, and hints of licorice on the palate which is soft, and full bodied. Finish was long. Very nice.
Part of 2000 , 2001 , 2002 mini vertical , A little to soft for me , I preferred the 01 with a little more structure and backbone but this was still a delicious wine .A finish that lasts & lasts . All three Insignias showed great and were a phenomenal match w/ a 10lb prime rib off the BBQ rotisserie
In celebration of passing the generals! Decanted for 1hr in ice bucket, drank over the next two. I perceived this as being lighter colored juice. Beautiful blackberry masked by a little shoe polish on first taste. Later, the fruit was more expressive and complimented with spice and leather. Wonderful wine. This should age well for a while.
Full, wonderful stuff. I will likely wait a couple of years before pulling the cork on the next bottle as it has plenty of time to develop. After 3 hours in the decanter the tanins rounded-out a bit, but this is still a baby.
seductive and elegant nose. i could have smelled it for hours. Very plush and well balanced wine. Although had many elements going on, did not seem overly complex. Well structured, but I was hoping for more. maybe more time will allow it to evolve further.
Bordering on wow. great nose of berry, a little tar and ---vanilla. The 98 we had last week was a bit more impressive. Recommend to decant this for at least 2 hrs as the aromas and fruit began to show better through the night. Great balance and nice soft tannins. Huge long finish of about a minute 30. This can cellar for a while also so dont rush.
Bought a case upon release and after reading reviews decided to try one with dinner at Fabians. Opened at the restaurant and drank over a three hour dinner. This wne still needs a serious decant, at least 3 hours, perhaps more to show it's stuff. The tannins are still sharp and while it has great underlying Insignia flavors of chocolate, toasted oak and dark fruit the tannins more than get into the way to thoroughly enjoy at this point. Long finish. This will be a great wine at some point, but believe that it needs another 5 years of aging. This one should have a long life.
Glorious, concentrated flavors of dark currants, soy, vanilla & toasted oak. In most wines of this style & youth the fruit has to mask the tannins to be approachable. Quite the opposite here, this certainly has big fruit but is seamlessly integrated with silky tannins in harmonious balance.
This has depth & breadth and its elegance continuously unfolds in a rich complex 45 sec+ finish. This wine delivers and has a decade plus of evolution ahead of it. At this point it is ahead of the 94 vintage & tied w/ 97 as the greatest insignia produced but in short order will be widely considered the best to date. Superb!
South Florida WS Forum Offline (Hollywood, FL): Wonderful, big currant flavors with some pronounced oak. Nice depth and complexity and very well balanced with a long 40 sec finish. Many would say that this still needs more time, but I found it quite approachable and smooth now. My only hope is that the oak will tone down more with age.
Much different from the 2002 Insignia that I tasted four months ago. This one was fantastic. Deep inky purple in color, very opulent nose of floral and jam, BIG bold taste with well integrated tannins, lots of structure! A finish that lasted way on.... till the next sip. Decanted and swirled for several minutes before pouring.
"Wines We Covet" (The Primes): Wine of the Year? Does anybody really think that means anything? Well, add me to the list of believers. This wine is a gorgeous construction of attributes, providing a nigh-ideal drinking experience. The nose is complex, full of dark fruit, some berry, leather, tar, and it draws you in. The palate feels like a continuation of the nose, inviting you to drain your glass quickly and get another taste before someone beats you to it. The finish lingers pleasantly. The wine doesn't feel massively structured, so I have no idea how long it will drink like this, but "like this" is pretty damn great and it seems like a real bargain at the original release price.
This wine just gets better and better. It has softened significantly, and has more complex nuances of cassis, chocolate, dark berry and plum, black olive, and toasty oak. There are also vanilla nuances and the finish is long. This wine improves and is almost perfect. Nearly the greatest wine I have tasted (96 Araujo still better in my mind).
Well, I couldn't wait to try the '02 Insignia for the first time, and to be honest I'm a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong, the wine was great - fantastic - just not wine of the year caliber. The color was dark ruby in the glass. Aromas of violets, cassis, oak, vanilla and red cherry are evident. The palate is smooth and balanced with more dark cherries, mocha, scorched earth and lavender. The finish overall, though, is somewhat lacking; it's not nearly as complex and lengthy as expected. Fantastic wine, but Wine of the Year?...I don't think so.
The 2002 Insignia was a wine that we have been dying to try because of all of the hype. This wine is still extremely young. Decanted for an hour, it showed a nice dark ruby color, and from 3 feet away you could smell plum, cassis, dark berries, tar, vanilla, and toasted oak. What a great nose! They need to make a "plug in" that smells like this! This wine was definitely showing young on the palate, and continued to evolve in the decanter over a period of 4 hours. This wine is silky smooth in the mouth with layer upon layer of fruit. Lots of black and red berries, a hint of chocolate, spice, minerals, currants, and oak, with supple, well integrated tannins. The finish is silky smooth, and lasts for nearly a minute. All I can say about this wine is incredible and we got them at an absolutely incredible price. 96 points, and Happy Anniversary!
My god, this was drunk alongside an 04 pride reserve, adn an 04 lewis reserve. Great Napa company, but it held its own and was the WOTN, in great company. Long and soft, with subtle layers of fruit, cassis, mocha, vanilla, and spice! No shortage on the finish, which was long, layered and fantastic. One of the best wines of the new millenium from Napa.
Very dark color - almost ink. Nose of vanilla and cherry. Macerated Blackberries and other dark fruits. Oak is prevalent. Good mouthfeel. Full-bodied and luxorius, screams classy, well-made wine but I didn't peg it for a WOTY.
2004 Evesham Wood Seven Springs, 2003 La Vielle Cure and 202 Phelps Insignia (Boston burbs): From 375ml. Not decanted, but slowly consumed over 3 hours in wine glass. Super dark color, with an extracted nose of plums and vanilla from the solid dose of oak. While the fruit here is substantial and dominant, the oak is also prominent. Great layers and depth to the dark fruits on the palate, the tannin wasnt an issue at all. Might improve down the line, but for me, this seemed like any other over the top Cali fruit bomb. Well made, but has to be your cup of tea. Rates outstanding b/c it's good at what it is.
Almost a 97, it was spectacular. Layer upon layer of fruit, vanilla oak, coffee, mocha, with a long and lingering finish. Soft, almost delicate, with balance unlike anything I have ever tasted. The best wine since the 96 Araujo I drank 3 months ago.
This is emerging out of an awkward stage that was tannic and somewhat astringent in the last tasting months ago. Starting to taste like the 2003 Lewis. This is still young and hard to rate. A little funk (bottle) in the nose keeps me from rating it higher. Obviously very concentrated with big but finely grained tannins. This still needs to integrate more. When it does it should go up some in score. I would recommend airing this out for at least three hours before trying. Nice but Nowhere near wine of the year
Out of .375 bottle. Good thing I showed patience on this one. First full day was extremely closed down. Alchoholic nose very tight with red fruits and highly tannic. Next day I had an 02 Insignia. Huge nose of red fruits. Very subtle midpalate with more red fruits present. Wonderful long finish with slight heat. Will stick with 750ml unless have plenty of time.
Maybe the best young Insignia I have tasted but a little hard to judge for sure. Very dense and primary and was only a little more open the next night. I'll probably wait at least 2 years to try the next bottle.
Decanted for 5 hours prior to drinking and it drank wonderfully. Dark, dark inky color. Fruity nose- blackberry, rasberry & cherry with hint of balsamic's sweetness. Incredibly full bodied with wonderful mouthfeel, smooth tannins with lots of fruity flavors identified on the nose. Superb with long finish. This could still age for years to come.
Decanted about 3 hrs. Amazing! Incredibly complex nose. Dark and brooding in color. An amazing array of flavors, well integrated oak, blackberries, minerals and cedar. I was so disappointed to see it end. Glad I have one more bottle.
i took this to a small dinner party after church last night, and because of the travel involved, i didn't have an opportunity to decant. however, i was able to maintain a good serving temperature. once opened, the moths were drawn to the flame, and the bottle didn't last too long. i did get almost a full glass as point of personal privilege, and i sipped it over an hour. the aroma of the bottle filled the kitchen, literally. i hadn't tasted this wine in about a year, and i thought it wood be, oops, would be (subliminal influence?) more open. there is a good amount of oak and tannin to be resolved. undoubtedly, decanting was called for, yet i get the sense that you are better off holding this wine a bit at this still toddler stage. it's certainly a full bodied, delicious, if not somewhat boring, example of insignia. or, maybe i'm just getting a little bored with cabernet in general, who knows? from memory, the blend is 78% cab + merlot, petite verdot, and malbec (no cab franc).
This is a wine that we serve to people who doubt the validity of American wine excellence. It never dissapoints, again the WOTN - compaired against a monster Australian Shiraz, exceptional Bordeaux, and huge Brunello, the Insignia blew them all away.
Nothing I can add to the many reviews here except that I will not open another bottle until 2010 unless I can give it 4-5 hours to open up. At Ruths Chris there was just not enough time. An 87 Silver Oak we had alongside was the real champ.
Very nice, but can't compare to the 02 HSS/Pride Reserve/Foley Claret at this stage in it's life. Tannins were very well integrated but still slighty firm with 3 hours of decanting. Mocha cherry nose and mouthfeel giving way to slight cassis. Finish was shorter than I expected with far less silkiness of the above mentioned wines. At this point, I would have much rather had 3 bottle of the regular Phelps than this. Very good on it's own, but IMO not up to the press it has received.
Double decanted for close to an hour. Dense purple color almost matched that of a 2003 Pax Kobler side by side. Great aromatics of cassis, plum, cocoa, espresso, and vanilla. A focused pallate with rich and pure red/black fruits, silky and well-integrated tannins, solid acidity, cocoa powder and cinnamon. A bold and large-scaled wine that admirably does not cross the line to being overdone with fruit, tannin, oak, or alcohol. Impressive given the annual case production.
Fantastic, we loved the wine, it needed to breathe as this was early but what a treat. This wine did not disapoint. I will wait on the others as the tanins were upfront and very firm. full fruit, long finish that kept giving.
VC's Third Annual Cult Smackdown (Sunnyvale, CA www.lionandcompass.com): Tasted single blind. I thought this was Insignia in the beginning but went between it and the 03 Leoville Barton as to which was which. The question was resolved when the bagged but squatty Insignia bottle landed in front of me. As this evolved in the glass it kept improving (until I drank it all). All my notes say is "Great Insignia!" that should only improve. It still needs some time but was drinking beautifully. Insignia has to be one of the most consistent Napa wines all the more impressive for the quantities produced. My #3 of the flight very close to the QC.
VC's Third Annual Cult Smackdown (Sunnyvale, CA www.lionandcompass.com): Third time tasting this wine. Aromas of mocha and vanilla with dark sweet rich fruit. The wine has silky tannins and I had a difficult time picking which wine I liked more. I eventually picked this as wine #2, after the Pride Reserve 02. I got a little clumsy and poured half a glass on myself. My jeans and shirt sure smell delicious! Maybe I won't wash the jeans for a while haha.
VC's Third Annual Cult Smackdown (San Jose, California): Served as part of a blind tasting at the Lion & Compass as part of the VC Third Annual Cali Cult Smackdown: my brief notes were: "thick rich nose, a little noticable alc, the tannins are still there but the wine is just completely integrated. Really well done." I did not rate all six wines of the flight, but the top two for me were the 2002 Phelps Insignia #1 and the 2002 Pride Reserve Claret #2.
Not decanted. WOW! Nose of cedar and fruit. Deep, deep purple. Full taste of blackberries and licorice all the way to the long, silky smooth finish. Shared with dear friends who all said this was the BEST wine they have ever had. I agree.
Wow, tannic, tight and not enjoyable. Did I get a bad bottle. I poured out most of it. I'm beginning to realize after drinking numerous expensive highly rated wines that they are extremely overrated. 2003 Caymus regular cab is much better than this and The two hands and Mitolo G.A.M Shiiraz's blow it away. Would not buy again at this stage. I'm hoping it's just extremely young and closed down at this point. Will try again in a couple of yrs and will decant it for a long time before drinking.
Cab Lovers of NYC Insignia Vertical (Zoe): Believe the hype. The '02 was a wonderful marriage of the structure of the '99 and the fruit of the '97. Still young and grippy, the nose was nonetheless crawling out of the glass. It really ate up the air (it was decanted) and showed complex, layered fruit framed by vanilla, anise and smoke. Wonderfully long finish that spread out beautifully. I really feel that this is a profound wine that will last for 20+ years in fine form. Tied for WOTF. My #2 of the night (with the thought that it will someday be better than the '97).
From a 375. Dark purple color. After 1/2 hour in the glass, the nose was that of chocolate, cassis, cedar, and spice. Black currants, blueberries, smoke, and leather slathered the palate, but with good definition and length. Tannins structured but almost buried beneath the forward fruit. A slight amount of astringency on the finish. Tasted young, this wine will be truly stunning in 4 to 5 years.
Decanted 2 hrs. WOW! Fruity aroma, deep dark color, smooth, full sweet and woody taste with a long, long finish. This is drinking so well now, I can't wait to see what this wine will become with some aging.
ok, what a fun night! Taste tested Insignia 02 against Showket Vineyars 00 cab and Mitolo G.A.M. 2004. The Insignia was clearly the bigger wine, making Showket look tiny and even the giant Mitolo look small. Now granted, there is a bit of a price difference, but Insignia was smoother, bigger, more flavorful, more drinkable than the other two, which are considered excellent on their own. The Insignia was gone long before the others.
Tremendous wine. Enjoyed at Crab and Fin at St. Armands Circle. Full bouquet of dark fruits. Palate covered with evolving layers of currant, blackberry, mocha, and subtle spice. All held together by strong but restrained tannins. Incredible balance of power and finesse. I'm hoping it lasts 18 more years to enjoy with my 2002-born son.
Allowed to sit open in cellar for 3 hours, then decanted for 2 more hours prior to tasting. Initially seemed a bit rough - dominated by wood and alcohol, but as the wine warmed up to room temp it quickly came to life. Dark purple coloring and nice appearance in the stem; black fruits, plum, and a still very evident oak flavor balance nicely with smooth tanins and faint spiciness. Finish lasted about 20 seconds. Not as deep a wine as expected but still excellent.
Young and huge, this was one of the most complex wines I have tasted, we decanted for an hour, and enjoyed this wine on a Sunday afternoon. It was intense, with flavors of black cherry, leather, blackberry, Cassis, white pepper, earth, and soft smoky oak. Just amazing, but be patient with this one.
Very deep compared to the other two wines this evening. Initially, very California blueberry on the nose. However, with air the nose becomes much more complex as spice and minerals appear. Rich and powerful, but not over the top, this wine is really good. Not a crime to drink now (with a few hours of air), but this should be gorgeous in 10 years. (18+)
Wow, what a great wine! Wonderful blend of fruit, oak, and earth, with everything in perfect proportion. Not sure if I can answer if it's worth the price, but I'd certainly choose it when offered by others.
Served at the annual Santa Clara Rotary Wine Dinner. The other cabs served this night were the 2002 Rudd Oakville, 2001 Beringer Private Reserve and the 2002 Frank Family Winston Hill. This was the last cab served due mainly to the WS rating. This was the only wine completely consumed throughout the night. I thought the Rudd and Beringer were slightly better. Many of the 30 attendees thought this was the WOTN. Good to go now. This obviously won't disappoint.
Post-New Year dinner (Home): WOW! My first taste of this WS WOTY. Beautiful deep red-purple color. Nose of fruit and oak. Pure, clean full taste of berries, caramel, oak...silky smooth. Incredible balance, and finish lasting 30+ secs. This will only improve with age. Had this with grilled dry-aged sirloin...unreal!
Tasted blind at Winter Break party. Clearly the class of the tasting. Consistent with other Insignias. Full, broad range of aromas (very fruity now). Very balanced on the palate. Nice sustained finish.
Sampled at Supercellars.com (from a plastic cup -- blasphemy!) Anyway, the wine was better than the cup, for sure. Lots of deep fruit, massive tannins and very tight. The bottle itself had been open for 3 years, but this was still tight. In a few years this will be very good!
Phelps Insignia Vertical 15+ Years: Vertical tasting. really enjoyed this tremendously, big upside potential here. An almost St. Julien spice mix on the nose, this showed some real power and elegance. Rich black fruit with great mouth texture. Oak contributes just the right amount of spice without dominating (compared to 2001 where I felt oak overshadowed everything).
Syrah tasting - My #9, Group #5. Ringer. Deep black/red. Forward aroma of rich red fruit and strong dill notes with a hint of heat. Nice balanced black fruit and spice with coffee hints on the finish. Less concentrated than the best syrah's. 12/05
I couldn't help but open one. All the controversy on the BB's and then WS wine of the year. Well, $100 bucks later I thought, "well, that was opened way to early.." Anyway, I was surprised at the noticeable oak upon opening. Lot's of other things going on and the fruit was definetly there. The second night (after just corking and leaving the bottle in the kitchen) the wine was much more integrated and tasted completely different but still very immature. I won't be touching another for several years but I do belive it to be another great Insignia
Had this again at the Wine Club in Santa Clara. This and the 02 Verite Les Desir followed by the Ramey Diamond Mountain were the best of the tasting. This is going to be a great wine over the years to come.
Excellent wine now, only to get better. big and brawny for Insignia and grows with air. Lovely big fruit nose . Full bodied with significant tannin but even more fruit. softened on night 2. I should get some more. Enjoy now and later.
Rooted around for something to open on short notice for my birthday. Came across a couple of bottles that had arrived a few days before. I won't open another for 2-3 years, but my will this be a beauty. Complex on the nose and palate.
Tom brought this barrel sample for us to enjoy. Thank you. The nose shows caramel and cassis. The palate is sweet and super long. Right now oak dominates, but the fruit is there to match. With time this will only get better.